Industry observer Laura S. Quinn has produced a useful, quick and easy reference tool for companies looking for collaboration software tools.
Writing in an industry journal targeted to nonprofits, her advice applies to any enterprise, especially her observation that “these options are all different from each other, but each has notable strengths and weaknesses when it comes to supporting collaboration. For example, simple tools may not provide all the features you’d like, but more complex ones will require setup time and training that may not make sense for your group.”
As she writes, there are tools for informal conversations and presentations -- and she gives options for conference calls, video conferencing and online conferencing, but it wouldn’t be difficult for you to locate some yourself.
For information sharing she mentions such fairly common and easy options as e-mail discussion lists, social networking sites -- although it’s a good idea to be careful how much you require your employees to be on Facebook while at work -- collaborative documents and a message board.
Read more here.
According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, the Asia Pacific “continued to be a high-growth region for the contact center industry even during the global economic slowdown.”
Some effects of the slowdown started receding in 2010. As that happened, the study says, spending on customer service resumed among enterprises to meet the rising customer demand -- “the region recorded a 8.5 per cent growth in contact center agent seats, and by 2017, it is expected to have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5 per cent.”
And as can be predicted, the economic downturn led to more of a concern for cost efficiency. This worked to the region’s advantage, since the Asia Pacific is regarded as a low-cost provider, one aspect of its status as “the offshoring destination of choice among service providers.”
Alternative models such as the hosted contact center service also experienced higher uptake with the pay-per-use model emerging an attractive cost-cutting measure.
Obviously the heavyweights are India and the Philippines, with Malaysia and China coming on fast. Competition is increasing among other Asian countries jockeying for a niche with the strategy of pursuing “knowledge-intensive business processes that require significant domain expertise, rather than simply relying on their success in the voice segment,” according to the report.
Read more here.
A good white paper, “The Cost Efficiency of Cloud: How IP/MPLS Redefines the Economics of Contact Technology in the Call Center,” produced by LiveVox, does a good job discussing what it sees as “a significant trend in networking and telephony... set to radically alter the economics of call center technology in favor of the buyer and lead to broader adoption of cloud contact tools in 2011.”
Sound like good news? Sure does to us.
These days carriers are actively selling IP/MPLS as a way to transport voice and data. That’s a switch -- even a couple of years ago, many were lukewarm at best to VoIP. But if contact centers all use MPLS, it would make it easier to tie them together in the cloud, of course. Having to upgrade their IP-PBX used to be the standard excuse why this couldn’t be done, but that’s not really the case anymore.
As the paper explains clearly, contact centers and telecom carriers are moving to IP infrastructure and embracing Multi-Layer Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) to transport voice and data. And since MPLS gives call centers a much more cost-efficient way to contact customers, launching calls via MPLS is less expensive than through the Public Switch Telephone Network and just as secure and reliable.
Hey we understand how it used to be -- site-based switching, protocol conversion and application integration made the WAN requirement all kinds of hassle, there weren’t any real standards carriers and IP-PBX vendors all agreed on, and yeah, hybrid and custom VoIP network configurations are expensive, slow, complicated and did we say expensive? That too.
Read more here.
Quick -- what contact center outsourcing market, valued at $184.5 million in 2009 and expanding in 2010, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan study, “has been recovering recently thanks to rising interest in broadband service?”
India? The Philippines? South Africa? Strike three. Try Russia.
That’s right. As the Frost & Sullivan study points out, “fewer budget constraints have allowed for greater spending on customer care outsourcing.”
Iwona Petruczynik, Research Analyst for Frost & Sullivan ICT group and author of the Contact Center Outsourcing Market in Russia analysis, says there is “an increasing trend toward the use and deployment of interactive voice response and automated service technologies. It has proven to be an effective way to reduce cost and enable outsourcing companies to provide more services with the same number of agents."
The study offers a caveat: It appears IVR adoption “has not been as rapid as industry predictions of just a few years ago” would have it. In fact, “consumers appear apprehensive about automation and prefer to interact with live agents.” IVR is more accepted among younger and more technologically savvy consumers.
Read more here.